All right, here we are.
Stan Bowman made his free-agent moves early. His choices most likely knew exactly where they wanted to go and exactly what the Blackhawks would be offering (not that I’m suggesting Stan, or ANY of the NHL GM’s were tampering at all, noooooo…). Then Stan took the long weekend off. With the exception of Steven Stamkos, the big fish have all been caught and eaten.
The “Free-Agent Frenzy” is over. Now, the actual work begins.
Here’s a quick update for those of you who missed the announcement by the Blackhawks late Tuesday. The newest members of the Blackhawks have chosen their jersey numbers for the 2011-12 season.
The shift in leverage for Chris Campoliwith the Chicago Blackhawks has been pretty dramatic in a little more than a week.
When Stan Bowman dealt Brian Campbell to Florida on draft night, it seemed Campoli had the ‘Hawks by the babymaker. No other defensemen within the organization to promote worthy of a second-pairing spot and, hell, none seemingly even ready to make the jump to the big club. It looked as if Campoli would be able to demand a significant raise and get it, given the lack of NHL-ready defensive depth.
Then came July 1, followed by a salary abitration filing Tuesday. With plenty of defensive personnel now signed, what’s next for the man whose nuts are surprisingly still attached after committing The Turnover in Game 7?
When fan of the site Jennifer Ciepley contacted me back in April about her husband’s 92-year-old grandfather, I was touched with a wonderful story about a man who is the true definition of an American hero.
Before Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks, World War II veteran Norval Nelson stood next to Anthem singer Jim Cornelison as the crowd cheered every word. Jennifer gave me the story behind Mr. Nelson, and I felt the need to write a post detailing his experiences as one of the few surviving U.S. Navy divers during the D-Day invasion June 6, 1944.
Jennifer informed me through email Mr. Nelson died Saturday, surrounded by his three daughters after passing away peacefully in his sleep.
Mr. Nelson’s family likely won’t forget the night he was able to be honored by the Chicago Blackhawks’ wonderful tradition, and Jennifer wrote of how much fun Mr. Nelson had that evening.
Here’s to a true American hero. Thank you for everything, Mr. Nelson.
Have a fun and safe 4th, everyone.
You’ve got to hand it to Stan Bowman if you’re a fan of a veteran presence.
After rolling through a disappointing season with an extremely young roster, Bowman added Jamal Mayers (36), Sean O’Donnell (39) and Andrew Brunette (37) to go along with Steve Montador (31).
It’s quite obvious the Blackhawks are trying to balance out the locker room by adding tough, no-nonsense veterans to a roster which didn’t seem to understand the magnitude of their failures last season.
While Duncan Keith admitted packing it in and most others continued with their versions of, “We’ll be fine,” the team pretty much fell apart and nearly missed the playoffs, which would have given Chicago an increased suicide rate.
Now, with a locker room full of guys who likely won’t take much shit, there aren’t many excuses.
I know things look different compared to our last shop, trust me. It’s been a whirlwind few days as Tim, Brandon and I moved here from Blackhawk Up. We refused to let the move get in the way of providing our random idiocy to the loyal followers, so here we – locked and loaded.
Unfortunately, the shift came as Stan Bowman decided to revamp the roster, leaving us out of the loop on the Web to providing our thoughts. Since you’ve heard most everyone else’s already, I’ll summarize mine best I can. The main thing I want to talk about is our new home, which I’ll get to here in a few minutes. Let’s get started:
Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky dealt to Florida; Troy Brouwer to Washington
I’m going to start with Campbell, because I’m pretty sad to see that full head of red hair head to The Land of White Shoes. There’s been plenty of talk for a couple years regarding Campbell’s cap hit and how the Blackhawks need to rid themselves of it. At one point, I felt the same way. Then I realized at the times he went down with injuries the ‘Hawks were most always worse without him. With Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and to a point Brent Seabrook taking major, major steps backward last season, Campbell often played as the Blackhawks’ best defenseman. When a guy who isn’t your overall best player but is being paid like he’s your best player, fans become uneasy.
Stan Bowman (hopefully) has made his first true addition of the offseason, trading a late-round draft pick for the negotiating rights to Buffalo Sabres defenseman Steve Montador.
The ‘Hawks have until 11:59 EST Thursday to strike a deal before Montador becomes an unrestricted free agent, though I can’t see Bowman letting this last that long.
Montador became expendable with Buffalo trading for Christian Ehrhoff’s rights and making a draft-day deal to acquire Robyn Regehr.
Montador had a $1.55 million cap hit last season, and likely will get roughly $2.5-$3 million from the Blackhawks. The 31-year-old is going to be a hell of a pickup for the ‘Hawks given his toughness and willingness to throw his body in front of the puck at any given time. Oh, and he can kick someone’s ass:
The three of us want to say thanks for joining us on our new little project. We’ve split from the Fansided Network, and that meant saying goodbye to BlackhawkUp. If you’re still inclined to visit, don’t worry: Frank is a Blackhawks fan from WAAAAAYYYYYY back, he’ll be good to you. Just don’t feed him scraps or he’ll puke on the carpet.
We’re just getting started with things here, so please pardon our dust and the empty pizza boxes. As the off-season progresses we will be adding more features, and of course you’ll get all of the Blackhawks news and commentary you’ve come to expect. And it all starts right away: the free agent signing period starts Friday, and we’re all cranked up and ready!
One quick thing that we’re very excited about: our ENTIRE archive of old pieces from BlackhawkUp is loaded and available! Look back to when Tim called the Sedins the “Tampon Twins” and pissed off the entire province of British Columbia; check out Bartl’s Boxing from when we made Bobby Lu cry like a girl; check out Spinner’s playoff edition of “The Daily Espo”; it’s all there!
So once again, thanks for joining us, be sure to follow us on Twitter and “Like”us on Facebook, and we hope you’ll be back soon!
– Jeff, Tim and Brandon
P.S. — Yes, “Bartl’s Boxing” will be making its triumphant return in September. WOO-HOO!